How To Look After Your Health When You Travel

Travelling without any type of commitment holding you down can be full of surprises and excitement. However, when it comes to your health, that is when things get a bit difficult. Here is how you can look after your health when travelling:

First Aid Kit

During your travel, accessing care can prove to be challenging in some nations, hence it’s advisable that you carry appropriate first aid health kits. Carrying medications from home helps you in self-managing basic health problems, managing existing medical conditions, as well as help you avoid purchasing potentially dangerous medications abroad.

Keep all medication in their original packaging, whether they are over-the-counter purchases or prescribed. This will help to keep the medications easily identifiable by the officials at the ports of entry. If you’ve any existing condition, make sure that you carry enough medication for the entire duration of your trip plus additional supply just in case your trip is extended unexpectedly.

Before travel, consult the clinician who is managing your current medical condition, they are often best placed to advise you about your medication management. Also, carry copies of all your prescriptions, including all generic drug names because this can help you in replacing medications if they’re stolen or lost.

Safe-Sex

Research reveals most of the STIs (sexually transmitted infections) occur due to unprotected sexual intercourse (coitus) during international travel. Many sexually transmitted infections exist, which are as a result of a variety of parasites (Trichomonas), bacteria (Syphilis, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea) or viruses (HIV, Herpes, Hepatitis B/C and Genital Warts).

Sex without a condom (unprotected sex) with a casual or new partner carries a high risk of blood-borne viruses (BBVs) and sexually transmitted infections. You should exercise caution with recreational drugs and alcohol, they can impair your judgement and increase the risk of having unprotected sex.

You should use condoms for all kinds of sexual activity with your casual or new partner. Condoms will provide you with protection against most sexually transmitted infections, including Hepatitis B/C and HIV, but aren’t 100 per cent guaranteed.

If you’re travelling with the aim of having sex, make sure you get vaccinated against Hepatitis B and always carry as well as use kite-marked condoms. Also, make sure you have a post and pre-trip sexual health screens.

If you’ve been exposed to BBV or STI during travel, you should go to your local sexual health clinic for a sexual health screen after returning from your trip to receive treatment. STI’s like chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics, so it’s best to get tested and treated as soon as possible to prevent any further health complications.

Antimalarial

Always take antimalarial medicine when you are travelling to areas that have a risk of malaria. You should visit your local travel clinic or general practitioner for malaria advice immediately you know where and when you’ll be travelling.

It is important that you take the correct dose plus complete your course of antimalarial treatment. Ask your pharmacist or your general practitioner if you are unsure of the duration you should take the medication.

Avoiding Traveller’s Diarrhoea (TD)

Diarrhoea is among the most common symptoms that are experienced during travel. TD is defined as passing three or more watery or loose bowel motions within 24 hours. It can be accompanied by bloating, fever, nausea, vomiting or abdominal cramps.

To prevent this, practice good hand hygiene plus effective water and food precautions. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling food or eating and always after coming from the toilet. Alternatively, you can use sanitising alcohol hand gel when washing facilities aren’t available.

Jet Lag Medication

Jet Lag, also called flight fatigue and desynchronosis, is a physiological condition that causes insomnia, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, dizziness, coordination problems, sweating, headache, confusion and other symptoms due to air travel across time zones.

You can visit your doctor to prescribe for you a sleeping pill (hypnotic) that will help you get enough rest at the proper times after reaching your destination or even to help you avoid sleep deprivation condition during the flight. Hypnotic can help you have a better sleep while you are adjusting to a new time zone. Also, you can take melatonin supplements to help your body adapt to jet lag as it adjusts your circadian rhythms.

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